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LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL.

U. S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE,

BUREAU OF CHEMISTRY,

Washington, D. C., June 1, 1905. SIR: I beg to submit for your approval manuscript and graphic charts embodying the results of the cooperative work conducted by this Bureau on the effect of environment on the composition of the sugar beet during 1904, together with a summary of the results obtained during the five years that this investigation has been making, the research being now completed. I recommend the publication of this report as Bulletin No. 96 of the Bureau of Chemistry.

The analytical work done in the Bureau on the beets was performed by Messrs. C. G. Church and Martin Boyle; that on the soils by Messrs. F. P. Veitch and T. C. Trescot. The cooperation of the various stations which took part in the experiment is deserving of recognition, but especially is the work of those stations appreciated which suffered no interruption throughout the five years, viz, Kentucky, Wisconsin, New York (Geneva and Ithaca), and Indiana, one year's data being missing in the case of the last-named station on account of failure of the crop. The Weather Bureau, the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey, and the Naval Observatory have also furnished certain data. Respectfully,

H. W. WILEY, Chief. Hon. JAMES Wilson,

Secretary of Agriculture.

· ILLUSTRATIONS.

PLATE.

Page.

PLATE I. Fig. 1.—Ten beets harvested from the experimental plat No. 2, Indiana

Station, November 10, 1904. Fig. 2.–Beets showing the typical mal-
formation of roots at the Indiana Station....

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16

TEXT FIGURES.

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Fig. 1. Sugar content of the beet as influenced by the amount and distribution of

sunshine and the latitude of the station, 1904......... 2. Sugar content of the beet compared with the purity and the temperature

and average length of day at the various stations, 1904.... 3. Sugar content of the beet as influenced by the amount and distribution of

rainfall and the altitude of the station, 1904..... 4. Sugar content of the beet compared with the latitude and sunshine record

for five years............ 5. Sugar content of the beet compared with the purity of the juice, temperature,

and average length of day for five years. 6. Sugar content of the beet compared with the rainfall and altitude of sta

tion for five years..... 7. Comparison of sugar content and latitude for the five stations completing the entire five years of the experiment...

....... 8. Comparison of sugar content and length of day for the five stations com

pleting the entire five years of the experiment.... 9. Comparison of sugar content and temperature for the five stations complet

ing the entire five years of the experiment.......... 10. Comparison of sugar content and purity at the five stations completing the entire five years of the experiment........... .....

......... (4)

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INFLUENCE OF ENVIRONMENT ON THE COMPOSITION

OF THE SUGAR BEET, 1904.

ORGANIZATION OF COOPERATIVE WORK. In organizing the work for this year, the last of the present investigation, every effort was made to send explicit instructions and to insure the receipt of complete data. These instructions read as follows:

INSTRUCTIONS FOR SUGAR-BEET WORK, 1904. For the purpose of the Bureau of Chemistry a square plat of one-eighth of an acre will be sufficient. It should be seeded heavily to insure a good stand and enough seed reserved for replanting if the first planting should not germinate.

PREPARATION AND SAMPLING OF SOIL.

The soil should have been plowed to the depth of 8 or 9 inches and subsoiled to at least 6 inches more, making a seed bed of at least 15 inches in depth. If the character of the soil warrants it, a deeper plowing, even to 10 or 11 inches, is advisable. The surface of the soil should be reduced to a fine tilth and well harrowed and stirred immediately before planting, to stop all growth of weeds that may have started.

Representative samples of the soil and of the subsoil from the plats on which these beets are grown are desired for chemical and physical analysis. After securing such a sample reduce it in size by quartering or otherwise to obtain final samples weighing not more than 4 pounds each. Place these in paper bags and then in the cloth bags sent herewith, using addressed marked tags, also forwarded. Please inclose a slip giving the kind of soil, date of sampling, etc., and send as complete a history of the plat as possible.

CULTURAL DATA.

The rows should be 18 inches apart and the seed planted at the rate of 25 pounds per acre. If the soil be moist, the seed should be covered to a depth of 0.5 to 1 inch. If the weather be dry, a slightly deeper planting is advisable.

As soon as the plants are vigorously growing they should be separated into clumps by a hoe 6 inches in width, leaving the length of 3 inches of beets in each bunch. When the heets have a vigorous growth and begin to form the fourth leaf, they should be thinned to about one plant in each 9 inches. If the soil be very fertile, the beets may be left closer together. Ordinary surface cultivation is all that is required, being careful not to cover up the beets at the first cultivation.

SAMPLING BEETS.

One month prior to the usual time of harvesting beets in your locality begin harvesting beets from the experimental plat. Harvest every beet in 50 feet of an inside row. Remove the leaves, clean the beets, and weigh them. Select 25 average beets, weigh them, and, without topping, forward them to this Bureau by express, collect, inclosing description tag filled out. Give all weights and your estimate of the tonnage based upon beets from 50 feet of row. Repeat sampling once each week until frost prevents further operations or the beets begin to deteriorate.

FURTHER REPORTS.

More detailed reports will be gladly received for incorporation in the bulletin. If practicable, make check analyses from time to time for comparison with the analytical work done at this Bureau. While the Weather Bureau reports will be used for meteorological data, any additional observations, comments on special features of the season, etc., will be of service.

STATIONS COOPERATING IN 1904.

The following stations agreed to cooperate in the work: California, Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New York (Geneva and Ithaca), North Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin. These experiments, together with those conducted at the Bureau of Chemistry on the Potomac flats, gave a total of eleven cooperating stations.

The seed furnished for this experiment by the botanist in charge of seed and plant introduction and distribution, Bureau of Plant Industry, was grown by E. H. Morrison, at Fairfield, Wash., from Kleinwanzlebener mother beets of exceptionally high sugar content and purity. The seed was of the 1904 crop and germinated 169.5 sprouts per 100 seed balls.

EXPERIMENTS CONDUCTED IN HUMID REGIONS.

POTOMAC FLATS, WASHINGTON, D. C. As has been the practice at Washington, the beets were planted on four successive dates one week apart, and, the planting on May 20 proving the most successful, the data for that plat are used in the discussion and on the graphic charts. The yield per acre of 14.9 tons is slightly below the average of previous years, but the beet is very superior in quality, a result predicted before the analyses were made by reason of the character of the season. The content of sugar in the beet is 11.4, about 3 per cent higher than in previous years, and the purity is correspondingly higher, viz, 76.1, an increase of about 6 points. An explanation of this decided improvement in the quality of the beet is to be found in the moderate and evenly distributed temperature occurring in conjunction with an ideal distribution of the rainfall. There was no month of an unusually high temperature, the average for the season being 67.3° F., and for the three growing months, June, July, and August, 72.6°, one-tenth of a degree warmer for the season than in 1903, however, in which year no such improvement was seen. The distribution of the rainfall, therefore, must have played an important part in the change in the

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